UPM Forest Life
What it is: UPM Forest Life is an excellent interactive site that lets students explore a forest virtually. This is the next best thing to actually being in a forest, I can almost smell the pine trees! UPM Forest Life aims to teach about forest sustainability through an outstanding ‘hike’ through the forest. Along the way, students can click on points that will reveal videos, pictures with information, and sounds. Students will learn about forest planning, harvesting, regeneration, respacing, thinning, transport, recreation, training, berry picking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, natural forests, valuable habitats, deadwood, forest structure, water, and native tree species. Students will also learn about the various animals that call a forest home. This is an outstanding way for students to learn about tree species, habitat, and animals because it is learning through exploration. UPM Forest Life will teach them in a way that no textbook can.
How to integrate UPM Forest Life into the classroom: Although I am sure we would love to take our students on a field trip to a forest to explore and learn first hand, it isn’t always practical or possible. UPM Forest Life is a fantastic virtual substitute. It is so realistic and well done that your students will feel as if they have taken a trip into a forest. This would be an excellent site to use with an interactive whiteboard. Allow students to take turns being ‘tour guides’ for the journey. They can click on the various videos, pictures, and information embedded in the forest. Create an observation journal where students can jot down observations of trees, animals, and sounds that they expereince while in the forest. This site would also be a great one for students to visit individually in a computer lab setting. Be sure that students are equipped with headphones so they can enjoy the full experience of the site. After students explore the forest, discuss what it means to have a sustainable forest and why it is important. This site is perfect for the science classroom or Earth Day but it would also work well in the language arts classroom. Students could use the UPM Forest Life as a writing prompt, after exploring the forest they could write a story with the forest as the setting, or use one of the animals in the forest as a character in the story. The scenery and sounds in the Forest are so peaceful and restorative, this may be a good site to have going in the background while students silent read…almost like reading above the trees in a tree house!
Tips: I have really enjoyed exploring this site and haven’t closed it since I opened it. I learned about the UPM Forest Life site from @atkauffman on Twitter, I highly recommend a follow! Andrew often has great resources for teachers and shares them on Twitter.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using UPM Forest Life in your classroom.